April Is Autism Awareness Month

Unless specified, data/specifics outside of my own personal experiences and observations are taken from www.autism-society.org .
  1. I am aware of Autism.
    Are you?
  2. Did you know that 1 out of every 68 children in the US is affected (up from the 1 in 125 stats of 2004)?
    And 1 in 54 boys?
  3. Did you know that "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others."
    "ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a 'spectrum condition' that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees."
  4. "There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/support lead to significantly improved outcomes."
    "Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides."
  5. I am aware of Autism.
    Because it has affected me and my family.
  6. One of my triplets has a diagnosis for being on the ASD spectrum.
    The smallest one at birth, "Bath."
  7. He lagged behind his brothers on most developmental milestones, and by 18 months we knew we needed to look in to options. It's hard to gauge when there are 2 others boys the same age to compare him to in the house - development milestones are guidelines not definitive.
    But he was well behind his brothers standing, walking, talking, fine-motor skills. And he would avoid eye contact and had little interaction with others in the house, preferring to sit and spin the wheels on a truck or fiddle with the cabinet locks or press the button on a toy that made sound or lit up over and over and over again. This is repetitive behavior. And his calmly sitting in a corner was a welcome respite when the other two were demanding time and attention, TBH. 😕
  8. We took him to a specialist, who gave us her opinion and recommended we see some of the county-provided early development specialists.
    But it was very clear that early work was needed to help him develop at a pace closer to his brothers and avoid any life-long characteristics or traits that could be avoided with early intervention.
  9. Every case is different, every individual is different, and so are their needs and abilities to respond to any type of specialist involvement.
    It's called a spectrum for a reason. There is not a specific one-size-fits-all method; we quickly learned that insurance and Doctors and specialists all have their own varying opinions on what to do.
  10. What my wife kept hearing was that "this next 2-3 years is the most critical" and "he needs 30 hours a week of individual, one-on-one focused interaction." 😳
    How do we do that?!? We could send him to a special school 5 days a week for 6 hours a day (at 2 years old!) We could have someone come in to the house. One of us could quit our jobs.
  11. We ended up with a combination of specialists and an Occupational Therapy student who came in to the house weekly and we did our best to pull him aside for targeted play individually.
  12. He has progressed tremendously and has closed the developmental gap with his brothers in some categories completely.
    🙏🏼
  13. He will always have characteristics.
    We are working on hitting right now as he is struggling with anger regulation - slapping and punches/kicks when upset.
  14. Not everyone is as blessed.
    To have the means to get help. To be aware enough to recognize signs early. To see the kinds of progress we have.
  15. We have met people during our journey.
    Families that struggle; to get the services they need for their child. To keep a job or jobs while balancing the need(s) of their child. To keep their family/marriage together. To grasp what's happening and what they can and/or should do about it.
  16. So let's be aware of Autism.
    All year, but especially this month of April.
  17. Of the challenge some kids (and some adults) have with overstimulation, human interaction, interpersonal communication, behavior.
    And the challenge their parents and siblings have.
  18. Of the signs in early childhood, if you or someone you know has a young child.
    🌟Lack of or delay in spoken language 🌟Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects) 🌟 Little or no eye contact 🌟Lack of interest in peer relationships 🌟Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play 🌟Persistent fixation on parts of objects
  19. Of the fact that we continue to learn and diagnose ASD, even in adults.
  20. Of the way words can hurt.
    Even if/when you think they aren't being heard.
  21. There are tons of books on the subject as you can imagine.
    One that I found helpful was "Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew" by Ellen Notbohm.
  22. There are some great lists in TLA already, and I'll link them here.
    If you are the author and you'd prefer I not - please notify me via List Request and I'll immediately remove!
  23. THINGS PARENTS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN WISH YOU UNDERSTOOD by @ashlee
  24. THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY SON'S AUTISM by @erica99
  25. THINGS NEUROTYPICAL KIDS ARE BETTER AT THAN MY AUTISTIC DAUGHTER by @lilybeansmommy
  26. I FOUND OUT I'M ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM YESTERDAY by @KateandDogs
  27. AN UNEXPECTED COMPLIMENT THAT MADE ME LOVE MY JOB EVEN MORE by @pili_ervin
  28. SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AUTISM by @vessel
  29. MAKE THIS APRIL ABOUT AUTISM ACCEPTANCE & SUPPORT by @wikiHow
  30. This is an amazing community and I appreciate you all and your capacity for learning, understanding, and tolerance.
  31. It's April - let's be aware of Autism.
  32. Bumping for another April of Autism Awareness.
    Things have progressed with Bath quite a bit in the last year; we are potty-training him which is way earlier than we would have thought. All of his indicators are improved, and at this stage our goal of him attending Kindergarten with his Tripocalypse™ brothers is realistic. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼🎉🎉🎉
  33. Also